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Friday July 13, 2007 6:37 pm

E3 2007: WTF Is Going On? Could The 60GB PlayStation Really Be Discontinued? [UPDATE]

WTFEarlier this morning, reports were spreading across the internet like wildfire when SCEE president David Reeves stated in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz that the 60GB model was going to be discontinued in the US.

How concerned are you about possible criticisms that you should have given European consumers what SCEA has given US consumers, i.e. the option to pay a lower price?

Well, they’re not really are they, because what the US are offering from the 1st of August is a USD 599 version with one game. All they’re doing is taking their stock in trade that they’ve got at the moment of the 60GB model, marking the price down and it will all be gone by the end of July.

So once the 60GB is gone, that will be the end of the 60GB then?

In America, yes.

To say there was outrage over this would be a grand understatement. Could Sony really be pulling a fast one and merely replacing the one option for a PlayStation 3 in the US – the 60GB SKU for $599 – with an 80GB SKU at the same price?

SCEA’s Dave Karraker contacted Joystiq to offer some clarity. He claimed that David Reeves’ statement was inaccurate and said, “As announced this week, SCEA’s product offering in North America consists of a 80GB PS3 available in August at $599 and a 60GB PS3 available now for $499. We have will have ample supplies of both models to meet the needs of our consumers for the foreseeable future.”

But keep in mind Dave Karraker is the head of PR at SCEA – in other words, he has to make what Sony is doing looks sensible. The “foreseeable future” could be any time frame, so he doesn’t outright dismiss what Reeves suggested. In a post on the Cheap Ass Gamer forums a video is linked to where Kaz Hirai states quite clearly that the price cut on the 60GB SKU in the US will merely get rid of the remaining units on store shelves, and we’ll be back to having only a $599 PlayStation 3 in the 80GB SKU.

As Joystiq transcribed the interview, “The $499 price adjustment that we did for the 60 GB version for the American market, we’re no longer in production for that product. So once that product is gone from the retailers shelves, then we’re back to the $599 SKU only, so it’s not like we have a two price strategy here in the U.S. market, which we found early on consumers react most to just having one SKU as opposed to two.”

Karraker responded, “The 60GB PS3 will be available in North America for $499 until supplies of that unit are depleted. We have ample inventory to meet the immediate needs of consumers in this territory for several months to come. We won’t be making any further announcements regarding our hardware offerings in the North America at this time.”

So it seems quite clear – at this point in time, at least; things could change at any moment – that the situation is indeed what Reeves described. The 60GB model at the $499 price point will remain intact until there are no 60GB models remaining on store shelves. This is really a poor business practice from Sony, who were giving every indication that they were returning to a two SKU format.

More as it becomes available.

Update: Dave Karraker responds once more.

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